Jessica Tata made a fateful mistake that would eventually cost her years of freedom. She is also going to have to endure a lifetime of regrets after leaving children unattended as the home they were inside caught on fire. The fire occurred in February, 2011 at her daycare, killing four children in the process.
The jury only needed four hours to come back with a guilty verdict. Tata was accused of leaving the house to go shopping, and a pot of oil was left unattended, setting the entire daycare ablaze. The children who died were all under the age of three, likely too small and confused to know how to find their way to safety.
The children killed were 3-year-old Shomari Dickerson, 20-month-old Elizabeth Kojah, 20-month-old Kendyll Stradford, and 18-month-old Elias Castillo.
According to witnesses at the trial, Tata has a history of setting fires. She is faced with a maximum sentence of life in prison. Tata was arrested in 2002 as a high school freshman for setting two fires in her school. After the most recent fire, Tata fled to Nigeria, but was caught in a month and brought back to the United States to stand trial. The incident, which took place in Houston Texas, has both shocked the community and led t0 additional reviews of daycare laws in the state.